When life hands you peaches, you make ... well, lots of different things, most of them delicious. But, if you're a member of David Mas Masumoto's family, some of those things are books.
At this point, it's hard to decide whether the Fresno, Calif.-area farmer is a peach grower who writes or a writer who grows peaches. He certainly has outstanding credentials in both fields.
His peaches have earned him a national and even a international reputation. They have been featured by name on menus from Chez Panisse to Per Se. And he's even been able to persuade hundreds of fruit lovers to "adopt" some of his trees — they pay an upfront fee and then dedicate two weekends to harvesting the fruit in the hot, sticky Valley summer.
Masumoto's eight books, mostly pondering the farmer's life, have been so well-received he was recently added to the National Council on the Arts.
Perhaps oddly, he's never written a cookbook. But now he has, and like so much that is going on at the Masumoto farm these days, it's a family effort. Written by Masumoto, his wife Marcy, and their daughter Nikiko, "The Perfect Peach" (Ten Speed Press, $22) alternates between familiar Masumoto ruminations on the nature of growing great peaches and more practical thoughts on how to use them.
You get essays by Mas on things such as pruning and the many workers who have helped keep the farm running. And then Marcy and Nikiko chime in with advice on how to select perfect peaches and how to prepare them.
The recipes are a Masumoto mix as well. Some of them are traditional favorites, such as dried peaches or fruit salad. Others represent the more modern side of the Valley: a Vietnamese-inspired shaking beef salad or pork tacos with peach salsa. You get your peach pie and you get your peach galette.
Like they say: When life hands you peaches ...
— Russ Parsons, Tribune Newspapers